The prime winter species have not disappointed offshore anglers over the past month on the Sunshine Coast. The weather has been kind and allowed us all to make the most of the conditions and enjoy some quality fishing time.
Snapper have always been a sought-after winter target and this year bigger fish over the 7kg mark have been around and looking healthy. Chasing snapper from the inner reefs such as Murphy’s and the Gneerings is ideal for early morning and evening fishing but a little tougher during the day. The low light periods at dawn and dusk offer the bigger fish some protection, which is why any depth over 30m is likely to be a good bet at any time of the day.
Reefs are a great attractor for snapper but not the only place you will catch them. Gravel beds such as those around the Outer Gneerings, Murphy’s and the Barwon Banks can work well, provided you get the berley working and give the fish time to find their way through the trail.
The inner reefs have produced consistent catches of Maori cod, snapper, little reds and the odd pearl perch. Over the last month though, the place to be has been out at the Barwon Banks and this will continue right through to November. From 4pm to 8pm, Murphy’s is still producing some great fish with quite a few big ones consistently getting away.
We had a couple of successful trips out wide that resulted in some good size snapper, cod, reds and pearlies. Slimy mackerel baits accounted for the better fish with fresh squid running a close second. The parrots that we landed were consistently around 2kg, which is just right on the ‘yum’ factor for me. I used a gang combo on my Live Fibre rod, backed by 50lb braid running to a 70lb mono trace and believe me, I got busted off more times than I would like to remember. It was nice to finally see the first good snapper slapping the top of the water before it hit the landing net.
The estuaries within Pumistone Passage have produced quality bream over the entire winter period, which is keeping anglers happy. The flathead run will be in full swing again as the baitfish make their way into the passage. Herring and hardiheads will be the best of the fresh bait, so have a go at them with your cast net. You may even land a couple of nice mullet if you are lucky!
The Boardwalk in Caloundra is home to drummer, with plenty of old faithfuls using very interesting styles and methods to catch these fish. It seems that some of these rods only get used once a year, but boy, are they effective! The beaches along Caloundra inside the bar are a safe bet for bream, trevally and the odd tailor during the evening. A sinker-free rig is the go, however, often the strong tidal flow through the area makes this nearly impossible.
Around Bells Creek, whiting, mullet, bream and flathead have dominated the catches and will continue to do so for the next month or so. The area around the cod hole has lived up to its reputation as a great high tide performer with catches of bream and trevally.
We all know that fresh bait is the best and there is no shortage for you to choose from around the area. We are really blessed with the diversity of the beaches and rocky outcrops on the Sunshine Coast and around Caloundra.
Shelly and Kings beaches around the rocks provide some weed to use when targeting drummer, and crabs for bream and whiting. The area at Dicky’s Beach and further north is a good spot for worms as long as you have the patience. Cast netting from the pontoons in the passage always seems to return a few herring and poddy mullet, along with hardiheads if you are quick enough.
There are plenty of crustaceans to choose from at low tide and a stack of smaller whiting to be caught in the low water run-offs around the powerboat area and up to Gemini Towers. Alternatively, you can always pump some yabbies and occasionally fluke a blood worm or two at Bells Creek and in some spots along Military Jetty. If you are really into gathering your own bait, a chest-high wade through the back creeks with your net should result in a few gar, mullet and sprat.
The next month or so will start to see the pelagics pick up in numbers and this will continue right through to summer. Amberjack, cobia, kingfish and the odd mackerel should begin to hunt in the warmer waters in close, so be ready. We are already noticing the surface bandits busting up bait schools in close around Mooloolaba as the bonito and mack tuna fight it out for a feed.
Our most recent addition to the deeper waters off Mooloolaba has been the sinking of HMAS Brisbane approximately 5km off the coast. This large ship should provide plenty of shelter for some nice fish over the next couple of years and entertain thousands of divers. The vessel is in close enough for all boat owners to reach without any problems. Anglers should be aware that there will be a Marine Reserve around the HMAS Brisbane and divers will be charged to dive around the boat. All in all though, it’s a big win for the local community and tourism.
The Sunshine Coast is now gearing up for the school holidays, getting ready to entertain truckloads of visitors and anglers keen to get in on the action. If you are heading up this way drop me an email and I will try to steer you in the right direction.
The fishing continues to improve every day and now that the weather is drier, opportunities should be coming in thick and fast for all of us. If the fishing at the moment is a sign of things to come, we are in for a bumper season both around the estuaries and out on the reefs.Reads: 577